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Full text of "To The Lighthouse"

TO   THE   LIGHTHOUSE

which the sea is slowly eating away, and there to
stand, like a desolate sea-bird, alone.    It was his
power, his gift, suddenly to shed all superfluities,
to shrink and diminish so that he looked barer
and felt sparer, even physically, yet lost none of
his intensity of mind, and so to stand on his little
ledge facing the dark of human ignorance, how
we know nothing and the sea eats away the ground
we stand on—that was his fate, his gift.    But
having thrown away, when he dismounted, all
gestures and fripperies, all trophies of nuts and
roses, and shrunk so that not only fame but even
his own name was forgotten by him, he kept even
in that desolation a vigilance which spared no
phantom and luxuriated in no vision, and it was
in this guise that he inspired in William Bankes
(intermittently) and in Charles Tansley (obsequi-
ously) and in his wife now, when she looked up
and saw him standing at the edge of the lawn,
profound reverence, and pity, and gratitude too,
as a stake driven into the bed of a channel upon
which the gulls perch and the waves beat inspires
in merry boat-loads a feeling of gratitude for the
duty it has taken upon itself of marking the
channel out there in the floods alone.

"But the father of eight children has no
choice, . . ." Muttering half aloud, so he broke
off, turned, sighed, raised his eyes, sought the
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